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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A six-year-old child knows the meanings of many spoken words; 10,000 by one estimate. He or she can understand oral questions, commands, and stories. Yet if this same information is presented in written form, the child is hard pressed to decipher it. How do children learn to read, and how do they reach a point at which reading seems as easy and natural as listening? This article considers the development of reading ability, focusing on the development of single-word reading in alphabetic writing systems. It examines how children grasp the idea that writing is related to language, and how they learn about the links between the letters in printed words and the sounds in the corresponding spoken words. First, the article discusses written language and spoken language in children, and then focuses on early learning about relations between writing and language. It also looks at the dual-route model, the single-route model, and the teaching of decoding.

Keywords: children, reading, alphabetic writing systems, printed words, sounds, written language, spoken language, decoding, dual-route model, single-route model

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